American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Name Lists

Underused Vintage Baby Names for Boys

A couple weeks ago, I published a darling list of underused vintage baby names for girls. All of the names were popular around the turn of the century (or even earlier!) and are now considered rare by U.S. baby name standards. They range from adorable and cute to elegant and distinguished, and all of them are ripe for a comeback. But what about the boys’ names? Well, here they are! Considering current baby name trends strongly favor old-fashioned names, these underused vintage baby names for boys are fresh and ready to turn the tide. Many of these options were considered fusty and unusable just twenty years ago, but today they’re getting ready for revival.

  • Algernon: This uppercrust gentleman began as a nickname among the Percy family, long the Earls of Northumberland. It delightfully means “mustache,” giving it a firmly masculine vibe. Most people will associate Algernon with Flowers for Algernon, though its appearance in the prep school video game Bully and horror writer Algernon Blackwood give it serious Dark Academia vibes. Shorten to “Algie” for a grandpa name with nature associations (“algae.”). Amazingly, Algernon only appeared in the U.S. top 1000 once (!) in the 1880s, though it saw minor usage throughout the 20th century, peaking in the early 1970s.
  • Archibald: Archie is popular again thanks to Prince Archie, so it’s only a matter of time before Archibald sees a resurgence! And believe it or not, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett have a child named Archibald. If you love literary associations, Archibald Craven is Colin’s father and Mary’s uncle in The Secret Garden. 100 boys were named Archibald in 2021, the highest number the Social Security Administration has ever recorded in birth data since 1880. If you’re not huge on Archie, consider shortening to Archer!
  • Arnold: Considering how popular Arnold Schwarzenegger is, I’m shocked Arnold isn’t a more popular baby name. Only 112 boys were given the name in 2021, which isn’t terribly low but still makes it rare and unusual for a modern baby. And isn’t Arnie such a cute nickname?
  • Bartholomew: This might be the most controversial choice here, but if we forget the nickname “Bart” and Simpsons references we can update to “Ollie,” “Artie,” and even “Arlo” – all of which are more than usable nickname options in 2023. Many parents will love that Bartholomew has Biblical origins and is the name of a famous saint. 37 boys were named Bartholomew in 2021.
  • Basil: With how popular nature and gender-neutral names are, it’s amazing more parents aren’t opting for Basil! Besides the delicious herb, Basil is an independent name of Greek origin meaning “king” and also an Arabic name that means “brave.” 73 boys and 28 girls were named Basil in 2021.
  • Clifford: Remember Clifford the Big Red Dog? Remember how he was the runt of the litter, but grew to the size of a house thanks to so much love? Wouldn’t that be a fantastic, sweet association for a baby? For what it’s worth, Kindercore is a new naming trend that throwbacks to beloved childhood memories. 150 boys were named Clifford in 2021, a more-or-less stable number (it fell out of the top 1000 in the early 2000s). Let’s bring it back!
  • Ebenezer: OK, despite Ebenezer Scrooge, this name has a wonderfully positive meaning: “stone of help.” Even so, didn’t Scrooge reform at the end? Nobody remembers his redemption…anyway. Eben, Ben, and Ezra are lovely nicknames for a little Ebenezer! 46 boys were named Ebenezer in 2021.
  • Edmund: Looking for an alternative to Edward? How about Edmund? Like Edward, Edmund derives from Old English / Anglo-Saxon, but it wasn’t nearly as popular after the Norman Conquest. Shortening to Eddie and all the other classic “Ed” nicknames, Edmund is also a fantastic choice for fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 172 boys were named Edmund in 2021. It means “wealthy protector.”
  • Gerard: I’ve never understood how Gerald remained popular for so many years after Gerard fell out of general usage. Maybe people emphasized the first syllable instead of the second…that would do it! Gerard has such a handsome, romantic sound. My primary association is Gerard Butler and his many action movies (and also, Phantom of the Opera), but other people likely associate with Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. 119 boys were named Gerard in 2021.
  • Gustav: August is a popular unisex choice in 2023, and regal Augustus has made a great comeback for boys starting in the early 90s. Gus is a classic nickname for both…and yet, there’s another way to get to Gus! Gustav is an unrelated German and Scandinavian name that was mildly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries until the early 1930s. That “V” ending is especially distinctive, and art fans may love the association with Gustav Klimt! If you miss the Romanesque prestige and length of Augustus, Gustavus is also an option. Just 34 boys were named Gustav in 2023, though over 400 boys were given the Spanish form Gustavo.
  • Herbert: Even though this is something of a family name, Herbert wasn’t even on my radar until recently, when I spotted it on an influencer’s baby! I was delighted by such a unique and refreshing choice in 2022 and 2023. Herbie and Herb are cute nicknames, and I think the nature vibes of Herb bolster Herbert’s chances for baby name success. Herbert itself means “bright army.” 53 boys were named Herbert in 2021.
  • Horatio: I’m going to be completely honest – this is probably my all-time favorite boys’ name. There are way too many reasons why to fit into this post, but Horatio (pronounced huh-RAY-she-o) boasts major literary and historical references spanning from Shakespeare (Hamlet) to the Napoleonic Wars (Horatio Nelson, Horatio Hornblower) and beyond. Horatio is the English form of Horatius, an old Roman name borne by a city-saving hero (Horatius Cocles) who’s somewhat akin to a smaller-scale Leonidas of Sparta. Distinguished and thoroughly unique, Horatio evokes adventure, courage, and intelligence. Somehow, just 12 boys were named Horatio in 2021. Admittedly it’s not the most nickname-friendly option, but I love the idea of shortening it to Ray, Ray Ray, or even Ori!
  • Isidore / Isadore: If Theodore is getting too popular for you (it’s currently ranked #10 in the U.S.!), try Isidore. Isidore is the English version of a Greek name meaning “Gift of Isis,” a meaning and origin that makes it one of only a few known men’s names derived from a woman’s name (others traditionally include Madison and Emmett). In 2021, 30 boys were named Isidore and another 19 boys and 5 girls received the Isadore spelling. Isidore / Isadore is a great way to honor an Isadora, Theodore, or Isabella in your life.
  • Orson has a lot to recommend it in 2023: for one thing, it means “bear,” which lends itself to fans of nature and animal names. Secondly, it’s short. It doesn’t have or need any nicknames! Thirdly, it has vintage Hollywood charm; I can’t be the only person thinking about Orson Welles! 97 boys were named Orson in 2021.
  • Percival / Percy: Fifteen years ago, I couldn’t even mention Percival without starting a fight. Now, it’s ostensibly fashionable! My generation first became familiar with Percy via Harry Potter, but the Percy Jackson series arguably has a much greater impact on that name. In this latter Percy’s case, it’s short for Perseus – another name that’s rising so quickly it may very well reach the top 1000 in a few years. Percival is great for fans of Percy who want a more formal option that isn’t Perseus, and it has Arthurian props. With the growing popularity of names like Arthur and Guinevere, that latter point likely means something to modern-day parents. In 2021, 46 boys were named Percival and 85 were named Percy; Percival’s actually in the middle of a spike, so it’s one to watch.
  • Phineas: Considering how easily Phineas shortens to “Finn,” I’m surprised more parents haven’t jumped at the opportunity to name their sons this! One of the most recent associations is the amusing Disney cartoon series “Phineas and Ferb.” 129 boys were named Phineas in 2021; an additional 35 children received the Phinehas spelling.
  • Rupert: Is Robert too popular for you? While Robert only ranks #79, that’s still a top 100 name. What *is* rare, though is Rupert. Rupert is an old-fashioned German version of Robert that’s currently far more popular in Britain than it is in the U.S. In fact, it actually broke the English and Welsh top 100 in 2021! While it ranks #93 there, it was only given to 26 boys in the U.S. during that same year. Contemporary namesakes include actors Rupert Grint, Rupert Graves, Rupert Everett, and Rupert Friend. Also…the guy who wrote the Pina Colada song? He’s a Rupert. Rupert was mildly popular in America until the early 1950s.
  • Ulysses: What I love about Ulysses – an unusual first initial and associations to Greek mythology and U.S. history. Ulysses is the Latin form of Odysseus, the titular character of Homer’s Odyssey. An old-school name that packs a punch, it was famously the first name of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was arguably one of the country’s greatest generals ever. Additionally, fans of classic rock may appreciate the connection to the Cream song Tales of Brave Ulysses. Like Horatio, it doesn’t shorten to many nicknames but I did come up with “Yul.” 180 boys were named Ulysses in 2021.

Ah, I love vintage names! There were so many I could have included here, but I limited things for the sake of space and time. Honorable mentions go to Clarence, Lemuel, Mortimer, Ignatius, Aloysius, Eleazar, and many more. Are there any you would add? I’d love to know which underused vintage boys’ names are your favorites!

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Name Lists

Underused Vintage Baby Names for Girls

If you’re a fan of vintage baby names like I am, you’re probably over the moon to discover that old-fashioned baby names are *in.* Sure, even generations famous for ultramodern names like the 1980s and 1990s had their “grandma” and “grandpa names” – I’ve heard at least one parent of an early-90s Emily say they picked an old-fashioned name not realizing other people were naming their kids Emily too. If you look at the current U.S. Top 10, most of the names are verifiably old-school! You can’t go anywhere there’s children without running into an Ava, Emma, or Olivia. Many parents may be tired of Mary, but they aren’t tired of names from 100 years ago.

Many of you may also prefer baby names that are a little more unique than what you find in the top 10, the top 100, or even the top 1000. Luckily, there are so many other baby names to choose from! I’ve curated a collection of wonderful old-fashioned girls’ names from below the top 1000. Keep in mind that in 2021 (the last year for which we have U.S. baby name data from the Social Security Administration), the minimum threshold for a baby girls’ name to enter the top 1000 and be considered popular was 254 girls receiving the name nationally. Anything below that number is considered rare! Anyway, here’s my list of underused vintage baby names for girls:

  • Agatha: Historically much rarer than Agnes, stately Agatha looks like it might make a comeback. Mystery-lovers everywhere will associate this name with Agatha Christie. 136 girls were named Agatha in 2021. If you love the nickname Aggie, Agatha’s one way to reach it!
  • Agnes, Aggie: Agnes is a lot more popular than it was 25 years ago, but it still needs a boost to reemerge victorious. Fans of British literature may the connection to Agnes Grey, the titular character of Anne Bronte’s 1847 novel. 211 U.S. girls were named Agnes in 2021, but only 5 girls were named her adorable nickname, Aggie.
  • Cornelia: Cordelia is rare, but elegant Cornelia is even rarer. This Victorian beauty easily shortens to Cora, Cori, Nellie, Lia, and other nicknames for greater approachability. 42 girls were named Cornelia in 2021.
  • Dottie: A classic, spunky nickname for Dorothy or Dorothea. For even more moxie and pizzazz, shorten it further to Dot! Dorothy itself is popular and rising, ranking #483 nationally, but if you want something more unusual and love the old-school nicknames trend that’s currently happening, Dottie may be the baby name for you.
  • Effie: Effie is classically short for Euphemia, a stately Victorian name that also deserves some love. Effie is still quite rare in the U.S., though it’s gaining traction in the U.K. If you love Scottish and Scottish-adjacent names like Archie and Maisie, Effie is another name you should consider. In 2021, 82 American girls were named Effie – far more than Euphemia, which belongs to only 11 girls born that year.
  • Elvie: Elvira is a cool name with witchy vibes, but nickname Elvie is just plain cute. I think Elvie works wonderfully as a unique alternative to Elsie, which currently ranks #221 in the U.S. and is still rising. 19 girls were named Elvie in 2021, compared to 1335 children named Elsie.
  • Enid: Likely everyone with a hobby or profession in baby names who watched Wednesday now has Enid on their radar. Earlier generations associate Enid with children’s author Enid Blyton or an Arthurian character, but 2023’s denizens think of a sweet, bubbly teenage werewolf girl. Just 34 baby girls were named Enid in 2021.
  • Eula: I stumbled upon this lovely lady within the last week while perusing SSA data, and later heard about someone who named their daughter Eula! It’s traditionally short for Eulalia, but I think Eula is easier to say five times fast. Just 6 girls in the U.S. were named Eula in 2021, which is almost as unique as it gets!
  • Evelina: If Evelyn is popular, why not Evelina? Evelina is the titular character of a famous early romance novel by Frances “Fanny” Burney, who inspired Jane Austen. Consider this gorgeous 18th-century option “Austen-adjacent?” 184 girls were named Evelina in 2021, which is somehow both more and fewer than I’d expect.
  • Fern is a vintage nature name that, like Effie, is gaining traction in the U.K. but still has a ways to go in the U.S. before it’s popular again. 140 American baby girls received the name in 2021 and it is on the rise, so just give it a few more years. Maybe 2024 or 2025?
  • Gertrude: I’ve written about Gertrude before and I sincerely believe it’s time to dust off this name. With great namesakes including Gertrude Stein and Ma Rainey and a wealth of nickname potential, I hope more parents will consider this strong name. And before you say “nobody names their kid Gertrude anymore,” let’s point out that U.S. parents gave it to 29 baby girls in 2021.
  • Ginger: Though Ginger has serious 1930s and 1940s vibes thanks to Ginger Rogers, it surprisingly peaked in the 70s. In those days, most people thought of Ginger as a nickname or variant of Virginia, but its status as a nature name and spice gives it currency for modern parents as a standalone name. 46 girls were named Ginger in 2021.
  • Inez: Inez (pronounced ee-NEZ or ih-NEZ) derives from a Spanish version of Agnes. Parents who want a smoother sound may prefer this four-letter form, which also benefits from its brevity. Need something different than Ava or Isla? Inez has you covered. Oh, and Inez gets major bonus points for historical associations with suffragette Inez Milholland, who campaigned for women’s right to vote until her premature death in 1916. 129 girls were named Inez in 2021, while 138 girls received the Ines spelling.
  • Lettie: Leticia and Letitia have fallen to the wayside, but Lettie is a fashionable nickname that’s slowly resurging. 173 girls were named Lettie in 2021.
  • Lois is stylish! It’s short, sweet, and to-the-point – a huge plus for fans of minimalist baby names. It’s also a fairly obscure Biblical name from the New Testament, so religious parents may appreciate that. Most of us likely remember Lois as Superman’s girlfriend, though. 119 girls were named Lois in 2021.
  • Maude, or Maud, is a short medieval form of the name Matilda, which is steadily gaining traction in the U.S. with a current rank of #466. Only 18 girls were named Maude in 2021, but I’m hearing a lot of buzz about it as an upcoming middle name. That makes sense, because it’s relatively short and only one syllable! Maude was at its most popular in the 1880s, which means it’s well overdue for a revival.
  • Minerva, Minnie: Minerva is Roman Mythology’s equivalent to Greek Mythology’s Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Parents who grew up reading Harry Potter may associate Minerva primarily with Minerva McGonagall, the stern Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress and transfiguration teacher, but as an old-fashioned name that’s been popular before, that’s not the only association. Even so, baby names from mythology are hugely trendy in the 2020s! Overall, Minerva gives off smart librarian vibes, which makes it a great choice for bookish parents. You can even shorten it to adorable Minnie. 84 girls were named Minerva in 2021, while 63 girls received the name Minnie.
  • Rowena: Rowan is a trendy gender-neutral nature name ranking #106 for boys and #241 for girls! If you’re worried about its popularity, consider medieval Rowena, which hasn’t ranked nationally since 1963. Just 33 girls were named Rowena in 2021.
  • Theodosia: Theodosia hasn’t ranked in the U.S. Top 1000 since the 1890s, but the popularity of the musical Hamilton, the rising popularity of similar names Theodore and Theodora, and the maximalist baby names trend are creating a perfect storm for reviving this elaborate gem. 35 girls were named Theodosia in 2021, the current peak of a sharp increase we’ve had these last few years. An additional 10 girls received the Theadosia spelling.
  • Viola: Violet is one of today’s most popular floral names, but if you like your flower names a little rarer, try Viola! Like Agnes, Viola has the potential to reemerge into popularity with just a little boost. Music-lovers may appreciate that it shares its letters with the stringed instrument. The biggest current association though, I think, is actress Viola Davis. 208 girls were named Viola in 2021.

Do you have any favorite underused vintage girls’ names from this list? Are there any you’d add? Let me know!

An honorable mention goes out to Hildegard, Hedy, Eudora, Augusta, and Rosalind. Winifred is one to watch, but I think that may enter the top 1000 in the new 2022 stats when those arrive in May! All the others are rare and unusual for a 2023 baby…for now!

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names

Name Profile: Myrtle

What’s the deal with Myrtle? Myrtle is one of those super rare baby names that literally nobody is using, which surprises me for a few reasons. Firstly, “Old Lady names” are highly fashionable, and it’s not uncommon to find young girls with gloriously vintage names like Olive and Maxine that you’d expect a grandmother or great-grandmother to wear. Secondly, “myrtle” is a type of plant, tree, and flower, setting the name firmly in the “nature names” category that is so wildly popular right now. Everywhere you look, today’s children are named River, Sage, and all manner of words taken from the world and environment around us. Then, it’s a color name, which is mildly trendy considering options like Ruby and Indigo. Finally, its sheer rarity makes it an actual unique baby name. Myrtle has a lot going for it!

Derived from the Greek μύρτος or myrtos, Myrtle was a popular women’s name through the end of the 19th century and much of the 20th century. The Social Security Administration tracks U.S. birth data back to 1880, and while those early years before 1937 or so weren’t the most accurate counts, if a name is in the top 100 for that year you’d best believe it was popular or at least some kind of fashionable. Myrtle was already firmly in the top 100 by then, with its popularity remaining relatively steady for quite a while. It wasn’t until 1926 that Myrtle left the top 100, and 1965 when it finally dropped out of the top 1000. From then, it withered into obscurity. Myrtle doesn’t even chart in the SSA’s extended data most years after the mid-90s; there was a tiny spike in 2013-2014 after the 3rd season of American Horror Story, and another small spike in 2019 when just 12 girls were named Myrtle, but that we know of, no children were named Myrtle in 2021 (the most recent year we have data for). When I said earlier that literally nobody is naming their kids Myrtle, I meant it. Myrtle is an extinct baby name.

As far as baby names go, and like most baby names, Myrtle has its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros!

Myrtus Communis, or the Common Myrtle

This old-fashioned name is usually taken from the plant, a beautiful flowering shrub with powerful historical meaning. The Greeks and Romans associated myrtle with the goddesses Demeter (Ceres) and Aphrodite (Venus), the latter important deity representing love and fertility. With the popularity and trendiness of mythological baby names, perhaps Myrtle (or Ancient Greek Myrto) is a viable name option for a child born around Valentine’s Day? In Judaism, the myrtle is associated with the Sukkot holiday and takes the name Hadassah after brave Queen Esther, who saved her people (incidentally, Hadassah, her original name, derives from a Hebrew word that means “myrtle” or “myrtle tree”). British Royal Weddings have included sprigs of myrtle in bridal bouquets since the Victorian era – I wonder if that’s how the name became popular? Besides its historical and mythical connections, Myrtle is also a lovely shade of dark green. Families who spend a lot of time in Myrtle Beach may love associations with the ocean, summer vacation, and the beach. There’s even a book series for middle grade (grades 4th-8th) readers called the Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries, set in the Victorian era like Enola Holmes.

Those are a lot of things to love, but let’s create balance and discuss any possible negativity (this website is, after all, the “Well-Informed Namer”). The first con I can think of is Myrtle’s sound, which is consonant-heavy. Myrtle belongs in the same auditory realm as names like Bertha and Gertrude, names with an “er” sound that also haven’t returned into widespread usage. I don’t think that’s a major con though, and I can see some options (i.e., Gertrude) becoming fashionable again. I think the biggest issue with Myrtle is the potential for disgusting “Moaning Myrtle” jokes that some adults and teenagers of the Harry Potter generation unfortunately might make about a person bearing the name. Need I say more about that?

Ultimately, I think Myrtle has promising potential in the coming decades, but I don’t know if we’re ready for it now. As a vintage flower and plant name, I think we’ll see a few pop up now and again. Parents who want to be absolutely sure they will give their child a truly unique, one-of-a-kind baby name may want to consider this option. What do you think of Myrtle?

Sources:

  1. Social Security Administration
  2. Myrtle: The Provenance and Meaning of a Plant, by Julia Blakely, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives.
  3. Nancy’s Baby Names
American Names · Analysis · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Modern names

Name Profile: Beverly

Do you like the sound of Everly but prefer something vintage? Is Evelyn, which ranks #9 in the U.S., too popular for you? You may love Beverly, an old English place name meaning something akin to “beaver stream” or “beaver meadow.”

Beverly: Surname, Place Name; Likely Meaning: "Beaver Stream" or "Beaver Meadow," or someone who lives near there; popular baby name from 1905 to 1999 for girls, until the 1950s for boys; Rare alternative to Evelyn and Everly; Vintage and Modern.

Beverly was one of the very first last-names-as-baby-names to become popular for girls. We’ve come a long way in that naming genre! I wager that most preschools have students named Harper and Avery, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if their moms or teachers are named Ashley or Taylor. Their grandmothers might be Leslie and Kelly, and their great-grandmothers could be Shirley or Beverly. The names change, but the style remains the same. Beverly was a part of the vanguard that made it cool to name a baby girl with a surname, or to name a baby girl with a boys’ name. Beverly’s old-fashioned now, but I think it’s one of the first truly modern baby names.

Beverly, like Shirley and other surname baby names, originally began as a men’s name. Indeed, Beverly became conventionally unisex for nearly 50 years before the 1950s, when it dropped out of the U.S. top 1000 for boys. I dare say that when Beverly first became popular for girls, for a brief period it was even gender neutral…as gender neutral as a name could be while trending before World War I! Even so, once it really took off for girls, there was no turning back. It was officially feminine.

What made Beverly popular to begin with? Those first names in that style didn’t come from nowhere; we know the concept of Shirley as a girls’ name came from a Bronte character . As it turns out, Beverly became popular because of a hit 1904 book, Beverly of Graustark, and a later 1920s movie based on the story. The timing is just right to imagine Beverly as a flapper or the baby of one. Beverly has a certain glamorous old-lady feel to it, making it a great choice for parents who want their daughters to sparkle and shine with confidence. There’s even the associations with Beverly Hills, California – for parents who want to evoke a sense of glitz, wealth, and celebrity – and Star Trek, for nerdy parents who love Beverly Crusher. Of course, the book that started it all isn’t even the most important literary connection to Beverly, at least not for modern parents. Today’s parents may wish to honor beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 104.

Like Everly, there’s well more than one way to spell Beverly. The most traditional alternate spelling is probably Beverley, which can be attested as a men’s name by the mid-18th century via Beverley Randolph (whose name came from a family surname). Other old spellings that aren’t currently in use for babies include Beverlee, Beverli, and Beverlye, though maybe surprisingly there’s no history of Beverleigh. There’s also Beverlyn, a rare name which peaked in the 50s but has the potential for trendiness in the 2020s and going into the 2030s thanks to the “Lyn” and “Lynn” endings that are so popular for baby girls’ names. Currently, the only two spellings parents are using are Beverly and Beverley.

Exactly how trendy is Beverly these days? Well, I think things are looking up. Beverly peaked in the 1930s and 40s before falling into near oblivion by the new millennium, eventually dipping reaching an almost 100-year-low in 2010 at just 99 girls in a year. Since then, it’s been creeping slowly back upwards – probably thanks to Everly, which started taking off right around then. Everly has actually dropped a little since its 2019 peak, but Beverly is still rising and was given to as many as 188 girls in 2021. Did Everly rise too quickly? Are parents already looking for something fresh but familiar with Beverly? Is it the vintage vibes? The nature meanings? If Beverly doesn’t take off now, I think it’s primed for the 2030s and 40s in a kind of 100-year-cycle.

What do you think of Beverly? Do you see it coming back soon? Let me know! 

Analysis · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Religious Names

Name Profile: Benedict

I used to think Benedict was one of those names that was too stained by history for modern usage as a baby name. Growing up in a household with a parent enamored by Early America, and with my own interests in colonial history, Benedict Arnold’s treason always felt like the reason why nobody named their sons Benedict anymore. Why I didn’t consider Benedict‘s decades in the U.S. top 1000 or the more enduring popularity of Arnold never occurred to me. Maybe it’s because my generation grew up watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and Hey Arnold, so our positive associations overrode the general’s surname. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked Benedict as a baby name! The fact is, until I was older I simply didn’t know of any living person who bore the name.

Nowadays, Benedict is a semi-popular top 1000 baby name in the United States! A few things have happened in the last 20 years to revive Benedict from the tomes of history and become a suitable modern baby name:

  • The first time I think I heard the name outside of 18th-century history was the 2005 election of Pope Benedict XVI. When he became Pope, the name Benedict received a substantial boost. With his recent death on December 31st, 2022, expect to see another bump to the name in the 2023 data (though, it will be interesting to see if his nearly unprecedented abdication dampens some of the effects here since the papal transition already happened).
  • Sherlock arrived on TV in 2010, quickly obsessing Americans. With that, Benedict Cumberbatch became a ubiquitous household name and at that point, I think the name began making its way out of purely religious circles. If anyone’s had a heavy hand in fading negative historical associations for Americans, he has. It helps too that Cumberbatch starred in a major Marvel role as Dr. Strange.
  • Cumberbatch isn’t even the only Benedict in Dr. Strange! Benedict Wong played another major role as Wong. What are the chances of two major acting credits in the same movie going to men both named Benedict? Either way, both actors have appeared across numerous Marvel productions.
  • One word: Bridgerton. The romance series first arrived over 20 years ago in novel form, but the Netflix series has been a massive phenomenon since its introduction late in 2020. Benedict is the name of the second child and son, and there’s a good chance that the characterization helped push the name back into the Top 1000 for 2021.

Besides all the current religious and pop culture associations, Benedict fits a few popular name aesthetics. It’s long, elegant, and Latin, landing squarely into the maximalist style of distinguished baby names. Benedict is old-fashioned, giving it a boost for parents who love vintage names. Bridgerton grants Benedict Regency vibes. Anglophile parents also may love its British-sounding appeal. It’s not super popular but with a rank of #991, it’s firmly familiar to American parents. If you want to honor a Benjamin but prefer something more unusual, Benedict has you covered. And if you go by meanings, its definition (“blessed”) makes it an honorific option for the Hebrew name Baruch too. Overall, I think Benedict finds itself in a perfect storm for creating a popular baby name.

What do you think of Benedict?

Classic, Old, and Traditional Names

Name Profile: Gertrude

Is it time for Gertrude to become a popular baby name again?

Gertrude is about as old-fashioned as it gets. Germanic, heavy on the consonants, and not-at-all frilly, it doesn’t sound like a name that could be popular for baby girls in 2022 or 2023. It’s quite rare, and many people probably treat it like the dodo – extinct! But I wonder if Gertrude‘s time is coming.

For one thing, it’s already more popular than it was 25 years ago. In 1998, only 5 baby girls were named Gertrude, which is the lowest count by far since the U.S. birth data starts in 1880. Just think – 100 years ago, several thousand girls were named Gertrude every year! While it hasn’t fully revived yet, you can now expect about 25-35 girls to receive the name each year and in 2021, the last year for which we have data, the count landed at 29 baby girls. There is no longer a major risk of Gertrude‘s name extinction. If anything, her long absence from the spotlight is a bonus because of the hundred-year-cycle, an idea that suggests names circle back around after a century. We’ve seen names like Evelyn return that way.

Another thing to consider is that Gertrude has fantastic nickname potential. There’s always classic Trudy or Trudie, which benefits from simultaneous cuteness and maturity. As it happens, today’s child is just about as likely to have Trudy as a legal name as they are to be called Gertrude (30 girls were named Trudy in 2021). Oddly enough, Gertie is starting to pop up again after a long absence (5 girls were named Gertie in 2021), so if you love old lady names you’re in luck! Geri might be too dated for a modern baby, but Gigi, Rudy, and Rue are adorable. Another nickname that makes Gertrude more accessible is True, a gender-neutral option which is wildly trendy thanks to Kardashian influence. You can also find that spelled without the ‘e’ (Tru), and sometimes with one extra (Truee) or even a second ‘u’ (Truu).

Bonus points for Gertrude include namesakes from Shakespeare (Hamlet’s mother), saints, Gertrude Stein, and Ma Rainey. Gertrude also gets to join the ever-growing compendium of Christmas baby names thanks to an adorable little girl in Violent Night, a 2022 Christmas movie that combines Die Hard, Home Alone, and other famous holiday movies to create a jolly dark comedy action flick. That character, named after her grandmother, goes by Trudy; funnily enough, her teenage cousin Bert’s full name is Bertrude (also after their grandmother, the family matriarch). Gertie itself boasts a modern, contemporary reference in the popular children’s book Gossie and Gertie about a pair of ducklings who are friends. If names like Gertrude, Trudy, True, and Gertie all have recent reference points in pop culture, it’s only a matter of time before they all start rising.

What kind of middle names suit Gertrude? Gertrude‘s Germanic root words mean “spear” and “strength,” which is just plain awesome! Methinks Gertrude pairs well with other strong and powerful vintage names like Hedwig (“war”), Queen, and Millicent (“work + strength”), but I also think it could be a great idea to balance it out with softer options like Evelyn, Estelle, and Winnie. Nature-related names also work well in the middle spot, such as Rose, Holly, and Sage. You can imagine a Gertrude Sage, can’t you? And when in doubt, Katherine, Marie, and Elizabeth pair well with everything!

Final thoughts: unlike most people, I’ve actually met a younger Gertrude and have wonderful associations with the name as a result. Associations are often the key.

What do you think of Gertrude? Do you have a favorite middle or nickname? Does it work as a baby girls’ name? Let me know what you think!

Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Religious Names

Ebenezer: No Longer a Scrooge?

Everyone’s talking about holiday-themed and Christmas-themed baby names right now. Whether or not they’ll admit it, Ebenezer falls into this category! Just a few years ago, children named Ebenezer were practically unheard of. Until the 1990s, Ebenezer appeared only sporadically in Social Security Administration baby name data. That hasn’t been the case in the new millennium.

Ebenezer "Stone of Help."

At least 40 babies have been named Ebenezer every year since 2012. 2017 saw 55 boys receive the name, which is the highest usage Ebenezer has ever reached in the birth data extending back to 1880 (though said data isn’t necessarily accurate or complete until the 1930s). Its traditional nickname Eben frequently ranks higher, though in 2021 there was only a difference of one baby with 47 boys getting Eben and 46 getting Ebenezer. Historically, Eben‘s usage has been a lot more steady but peaked at 100 boys just a decade ago. Going forward, it looks like Ebenezer may be more stalwart than its more accessible short form. And hey, Ebenezer is no longer just for boys – over thirty girls have been named Ebenezer since 2008!

But what is Ebenezer‘s deal? None of us can forget the cultural icon that is Ebenezer Scrooge. A lonely old man who’s cruel to everyone, especially at Christmas? Whose main catchphrase is “bah, humbug?” This Dickensian character creation permanently tainted a fine Biblical name for many, but we should remember that Scrooge came around at the end. His experience with the three ghosts permanently changed him for the better, and so he’s not so much a villain as someone who needed a wake-up call. Moreover, nobody is born that bitter, but it takes a lot to overcome bitterness like that. A Christmas Carol is a story of redemption and healing. We all love that at the Holidays, don’t we? I’d argue that makes Ebenezer an awesome Christmas baby name.

A_Christmas_Carol_-_Scrooge_and_Bob_Cratchit
Scrooge after the ghosts

If you’re cynical about the Holiday Season and are prone to complaining about it, Scrooge may still be the namesake you want. Naturally, the Victorian Grinch is everyone’s main association with Ebenezer. I personally have another association via the 1948 movie Portrait of Jennie, which is coincidentally another ghost story (though much more romantic). One of the main characters is an artist named Eben Adams. 

As to why the name Ebenezer has gotten a lot more popular than before, I have few ideas. It offers serious old-school Puritan and Bible vibes, which imports weight considering the widespread popularity of names like Noah, Elijah, Asher, and Ezra. Also…is it at all possible that Ebenezer is losing some of its association with Scrooge, in the way that Benedict isn’t always associated with Arnold now? It has an appealing meaning, too: “stone of help.”

Ebenezer has great nickname potential! Besides the obvious Eben, you could call an Ebenezer by Ben, Ezra, Benno, Benny, Bennett, and Benz. Because of its meaning, you could even go for Rocky! Middle names should ideally be one or two syllables, as in Ebenezer John or Ebenezer Samson.

What do you think of the name Ebenezer?

My sources were the Social Security AdministrationA Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, Behind the Name, and Nancy’s Baby Names.

Originally published July 21, 2016.

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Religious Names

“Nick” Names

Most Americans associate Santa and gift-giving with a single Christmas date, December 25th. Very few know about a certain tradition on December 5th of leaving out shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts on December 6th (I only know about it because I studied German in high school…that was a fun lesson!). Whether jolly old St. Nick brings your gifts on Christmas Day, St. Nicholas Day / Nikolaustag, or somewhere in-between, here’s a list of baby names related to Nicholas and other Nicks for inspiration this Holiday Season! All of these were used in 2021 and are listed by popularity, according to the Social Security Administration. I’ve also grouped spellings by pronunciation with the most popular version at the top.

The Major Nick Families

Nicholas – 6508 baby boys in total were named Nicholas or some spelling variation in 2021. It’s one of the most timeless names in the lexicon and has been out of the U.S. Top 200 only once!

  • Nicholas – 3824 boys were given this spelling. U.S. Rank: #92.
  • Nicolas – 1996 boys. Rank: #188
  • Nickolas – 168 boys
  • Nikolas – 472 boys
  • Niklas – 20 boys
  • Nikoloz – 10 boys
  • Nicklas – 8 boys
  • Nikkolas – 5 boys
  • Nykolas – 5 boys

Nico2876 boys and 62 girls for an overall total of 2938 babies named Nico or a variant.

  • Nico – 1351 boys, 35 girls. Rank: #259 for boys
  • Niko – 1158 boys, 19 girls. Rank: #291 for boys
  • Nikko – 213 boys
  • Neko – 55 boys, 8 girls
  • Nicco – 48 boys
  • Nyko 24 boys
  • Nieko – 17 boys
  • Nicho – 5 boys
  • Nykko – 5 boys

Nicole – 1094 girls total.

  • Nicole – 949 girls. Rank: #340
  • Nichole – 62 girls
  • Nicolle – 40 girls
  • Nicol – 19 girls
  • Nikole – 14 girls
  • Nickole – 5 girls
  • Nikol – 5 girls

Nikolai – 824 boys total.

  • Nikolai – 617 boys. Rank: #480
  • Nicolai – 50 boys
  • Nikoli – 20 boys
  • Nikolay – 16 boys
  • Nicholai – 15 boys
  • Nickolai – 12 boys
  • Nicolae – 10 boys
  • Nicoli – 9 boys
  • Nikolaj – 9 boys
  • Nikkolai – 7 boys
  • Nicholi – 5 boys

Nixon – 405 boys and 23 girls for an overall total of 428 children. Nixon means “Nick’s son.”

  • Nixon – 377 boys, 17 girls. Rank: #695 for boys.
  • Nixxon – 12 boys
  • Nickson – 8 boys. Taking the spelling more literally?
  • Nyxon – 8 boys
  • Nixyn – 6 girls

Niklaus – 385 boys total. Rank: #839.

  • Niklaus – 280 boys
  • Nikolaos – 55 boys
  • Nikolaus – 33 boys
  • Nicklaus – 17 boys

Nicolette – 152 girls total.

  • Nicolette – 141 girls
  • Nicholette – 6 girls
  • Nikolette – 5 girls

Nikola – 180 boys and 21 girls, totaling 201 babies.

  • Nikola – 145 boys, 12 girls
  • Nicola – 35 boys, 9 girl

Nick – 131 boys; this is the only spelling I could find.

Nikki – 88 girls, 20 boys for a combined total of 108 babies

  • Nikki – 66 girls
  • Nicky – 20 boys, 6 girls
  • Niki – 16 girls

Niccolo – 96 boys total.

  • Niccolo – 51 boys
  • Nicolo – 40 boys
  • Nikolo – 5 boys

Nika – 66 girls

Nicolina – 38 girls total

  • Nicolina – 23 girls
  • Nikolina – 15 girls

Nicoletta – 35 girls total

  • Nicoletta – 22 girls
  • Nikoletta – 8 girls
  • Nikoleta – 5 girls

Nikos – 20 boys. Behind the Name says this is a Greek nickname for Nikolaos.

Other relatives of Nicholas without the “Nic”:

Colin – Total of 2098 boys and 36 girls (Combined 2134). One of Colin‘s origins is as a medieval nickname for Nicholas.

  • Colin – 1282 boys, 5 girls. Rank: #269.
  • Collin – 726 boys, 10 girls. Rank: #421
  • Kollin – 38 boys
  • Kolin – 25 boys
  • Collen – 9 boys
  • Collyn – 8 boys, 7 girls
  • Colyn – 5 boys
  • Kollyn – 14 girls, 5 boys

Collins – Total of 1348 girls and 47 boys (combined 1395). If you like last names as baby names and want to honor a Nicholas, this relative of Colin is a good alternative to Nixon

  • Collins – 998 girls, 47 boys. Rank: #326.
  • Kollyns – 163 girls
  • Kollins – 104 girls
  • Collyns – 78 girls
  • Kolynns – 5 girls

Colette – 767 girls total. Colette is a nickname for Nicolette.

  • Colette – 684 girls. Rank: #454
  • Collette – 69 girls
  • Kolette – 14 girls

Kai – Total of 4684 boys and 392 girls (combined total: 5052 babies named Kai in 2021). Kai can sometimes be a German or Scandinavian nickname for Nicholas’s counterparts in those languages.

  • Kai – 4599 boys, 368 girls. Ranks #71 for boys and #770 for girls.
  • Cai – 85 boys, 24 girls

Klaus – 76 boys. The old-school German version of Nick.

I also found a bunch of mostly unrelated names that share that “Nick” sound. A lot of them can use Nick or Nikki as a, well, nickname!

Miscellaneous:

  • Nikita – 75 boys, 51 girls (126 total)
  • Nyx – 61 girls, 8 boys (69 total)
  • Nikhil – 67 boys
  • Nicodemus – 39 boys
  • Nixie – 18 girls. Is this the next Nikki?
  • Nike – 10 boys, 7 girls (total). Besides being a shoe brand, Nike was the Greek goddess of victory and provides the root for the first half of Nicholas.
  • Nicha – 9 girls
  • Nichelle – 9 girls
  • Nikayla – 9 girls
  • Nicanor – 8 boys
  • Nicandro – 8 boys
  • Nikai – 8 boys
  • Nikan – 8 boys
  • Nikodem – 8 boys
  • Nekoda – 8 boys
  • Nikash – 7 boys
  • Nix – 7 boys
  • Nicasio – 6 boys
  • Nicodemo – 6 boys
  • Nikiya – 6 girls
  • Nyxie – 6 girls
  • Nektarios – 5 boys
  • Nykeem – 5 boys

Do you have any favorites from this list? Let me know!

American Names · Ancient and Classical Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names

Artemidora, Theodora, and Beyond: Names Ending in Dora

Artemidora Mummy
Mummy of Artemidora

Do you find yourself jotting down names wherever you go? I just visited the Met for the first time during a Thanksgiving trip to NYC, and occasionally I’d spot intriguing names in exhibits. The absolute best name I saw there was Artemidora, a gorgeous mashup of Artemis + Dora that means “Gift of Artemis.” Seeing as both Artemis and Theodora are increasingly popular baby names, I think it could work for a modern infant! Artemidora is long, mythological, and elaborate – fitting in with the regal, overtly feminine tones of similarly long names like Anastasia, Isabella, and Theodosia. The Artemidora I spotted was evidently a post-Hellenic, Roman-era Egyptian woman who lived, died, and was mummified nearly 2,000 years ago.

All this talk about Artemidora got me thinking about other possible names ending in “Dora,” so I’ve created a list of names with that ending! Some are still in use, while others are so ancient that the chance of seeing them on a modern baby is slim. “Dora” is a great baby name element because it means “gift,” so maybe you’ll see something here to honor your own little gift!

Hello my name is Artemidora Dora for short.
  • Adora – 106 girls were named Adora in the U.S. in 2021. Additionally, 5 girls were named Adorah. Behind the Name says this is a nickname for the Spanish name Adoracion (translated: Adoration), though I’m sure that doesn’t account for all the babies called Adora.
  • Adorabella – While this didn’t appear in the birth data in 2021, Adorabella is a cute compound name that’s been showing up sporadically over the last decade. Adorable! I also spotted a much older Adorabelle in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
  • Aldora – 6 American girls were named this in 2021.
  • Andora – 6 girls. The country is usually spelled “Andorra” and the Star Wars series only arrived in 2022, so maybe this is a variation of Andrea?
  • Athenodora – This one’s an obscure favorite of mine from Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire, spotted in one of my Greek classes several years ago. It means “Gift of Athena.” As far as I can tell, nobody is being named Athenadora right now, but I did find a rather rare masculine form in the SSDI.
  • Apollidora – Extremely rare women’s name meaning “Gift of Apollo.” I couldn’t find any examples in the data, and the closest I could find were a couple variations of the men’s version Apollidore.
  • Artemidora – I couldn’t find any examples in Social Security Administration (SSA) birth data, but I did find a masculine form in the SSDI.
  • Callidora – 5 girls. Callidora sounds like a Harry Potter character, but this name meaning “beautiful gift” is closer to the name of an Edmund Spenser character. Sir Calidore can be found in the pages of the Faerie Queene.
  • Dora – 81 girls. Sometimes short, sweet, and to-the-point does the trick. I wonder if any are named after Dora the Explorer?
  • Elladora – This was used a handful of times in the early 20th century, and I’m just waiting for it to come back!
  • Eudora – Just 13 baby girls in 2021 received this vintage mythology name made famous by author Eudora Welty. It means “good gift.”
  • Heliodora – Derived from Heliodoros, which means “Gift of Helios.” Helios was the Greek god or personification of the Sun, which makes this a great choice for parents who want a bright, sunny baby name. There were a lot of American women named Heliodora in the SSDI, but none in the birth data. Sometimes it also appears spelled Heleodora, Helidora, or Eliodora.
  • Isadora / IsidoraIsadora is the more popular spelling variation of Isidora, itself a feminine form of Isidore / Isidoros which means “Gift of Isis.” Isadora Duncan was a renowned dancer in the early 20th century. This is a great alternative to Isabella and while it’s still a rare name, 135 baby girls were named Isadora in 2021, while only 21 girls were named Isidora.
  • Lendora / Lindora / LynndoraTurn-of-the-century charmer that’s more likely to be revived as Doralynn. There are quite a few women with variations of this name in the SSDI. 
  • Musidora – Meaning “Gift of the Muses,” this is a great choice for creative parents. It was the stage name of a French silent-film actress, and was evidently a popular artistic subject in the 18th and 19th centuries. Musidora is also an obscure Harry Potter reference to the Wizard Card of Musidora Barkwith, a musician. The SSDI lists a few women named Musidora and a few men named Musadore or Musidore.
  • Nymphadora – Tonks wasn’t the first person or character to own this name, but she may be the last. Meaning “Gift of the Nymphs,” it also belonged to an early saint. I found what looked a Modern Greek spelling and a masculine form in the death data, but even with its Harry Potter connection the “nymph” part scares off today’s prospective parents.
  • Pandora – 39 girls. Pandora was one of the human story’s original bad girls, said to open Pandora’s Box and let all the bad things escape into the world. Today more people are familiar with the music streaming service, though unlike the Amazon Alexa, a baby Pandora isn’t likely to have to compete with a device.
  • Theodora / Theadora / Teodora – The most popular Dora name by far is Theodora (“Gift of God”), which finally escaped the perpetual namenerd radar when Theodore (now the #10th most popular boys name in the country!) took off. Its most famous bearer is probably Empress Theodora of Byzantium, though today’s parents may be more familiar with Theodora Jagger. Out of all the names on this list, Theodora is the only Dora name that ranks in the U.S. top 1000, appearing at #734 in 2021. Spelling variant Theadora was used 90 times, and international Teodora appeared 21 times last year.

With Theodora rising as quickly as it is, don’t be surprised if “Dora” becomes a more popular name ending in the way that “Bella” and “Lynn” did in the last 10-20 years. I expect to see parents choosing or creating options like Lunadora in the near future. Who doesn’t want their child’s name to mean “gift” or “gift of?”

What do you think of these names? Let me know!

Sources: I used the Social Security Administration (SSA) for baby names and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for when I couldn’t find a living person with a name. For definitions, I usually double-check Behind the Name.

American Names · Analysis · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names

Popular Boys’ Names in 1917 *and* 2017

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 12.03.03 PM

Do you want to give your baby a name from 100 years ago that’s still usable today?  Here is a list of all the boys’ names that were popular (i.e. in the U.S. top 1000) in both 2017 and 1917!  You can also read my list of popular girls’ names from both years.

A: Aaron, Abel, Abraham, Abram, Adam, Adrian, Alan, Albert, Alberto, Alden, Aldo, Alec*, Alex, Alexander, Alfonso, Alfred, Alfredo, Allan, Allen, Alonzo, Alvin, Amos, Anderson, Andres, Andrew, Andy, Angel, Angelo, Anthony, Anton, Antonio, Arlo, Armando, Aron, Arthur, Arturo*, Asa, August, Augustine, Augustus, Austin, Avery

B: Ben, Benjamin, Bennett, Benson, Benton, Billy, Blaine, Bobby, Bradley, Brady, Brooks, Bruce, Bruno, Bryan, Bryant, Byron

C: Caleb*, Calvin, Carl, Carlos, Carmelo, Carson, Carter, Charles, Charlie, Chris, Christian, Christopher, Clark, Clay, Clayton, Clyde, Coleman, Conrad, Craig, Curtis, Cyrus

D: Dallas, Dalton, Daniel, Danny, Dante, Darrell, Darwin, David, Davis, Dayton, Dean, Dennis, Denver, Dexter, Dominic, Dominick, Donald, Douglas, Duncan

E: Eddie, Edgar, Edison, Edward, Edwin, Eli, Elias, Elijah, Elisha, Elliot, Elliott, Ellis, Emanuel, Emerson, Emery, Emilio, Emmet, Emmett, Emmitt, Emory, Enoch, Enrique, Eric, Ernest, Ernesto, Eugene, Evan, Everett, Ezekiel, Ezra

F: Felipe, Felix, Fernando, Finley*, Fletcher, Ford, Forrest, Foster, Francis, Francisco, Frank, Frankie*, Franklin, Frederick

G: Gabriel, Garrett, Gary, George, Gerald, Gordon, Grady, Graham, Grant, Gregory

H: Harlan, Harley, Harold, Harrison, Harry, Harvey, Hayden, Hayes*, Hector, Henry, Hezekiah*, Houston, Howard, Hudson, Hugh, Hugo, Hunter

I: Ignacio*, Ira, Isaac, Isaiah, Israel, Ivan

J: Jack, Jackson, Jacob, Jake, James, Jason, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jeremiah, Jerome, Jerry, Jesse, Jessie, Jesus, Jimmy, Joe, Joel, John, Johnny, Jonas, Jonathan, Jordan*, Jose, Joseph, Joshua, Juan, Judson, Julian, Julio, Julius, Junior, Justin

K: Keith, Kendall, Kenneth, King, Kyle

L: Lamar, Larry, Lawrence, Lawson, Lee, Leland, Leo, Leon, Leonard, Leroy, Levi, Lewis, Lincoln, Lionel, Logan, Lorenzo, Louie, Louis, Lucian, Luis, Luke, Lyle

M: Mack, Major, Malcolm, Manuel, Marcel, Marcus, Mario, Mark, Marshall, Martin, Marvin, Mason, Mathew, Matt, Matthew, Maurice, Max, Maxwell, Melvin, Michael, Micheal, Miguel, Mike*, Milan, Miles, Miller, Milo, Mitchell, Morgan, Moses, Myles

N: Nathan, Nathaniel, Neil, Nelson, Nicholas, Nickolas, Nicolas*, Noah, Noel, Nolan

O: Oakley*, Oliver, Omar, Orlando, Oscar, Otis, Otto, Owen

P: Pablo, Parker, Patrick, Paul, Pedro, Peter, Philip, Phillip, Pierce, Porter, Preston, Prince

Q: Quentin, Quincy

R: Rafael, Ramon, Randall*, Raphael, Raul, Ray, Raymond, Reed, Reese, Reginald, Reid*, Rene, Reuben, Rex, Ricardo*, Richard, Riley, Robert, Roberto, Rodney, Roger, Rocco, Roland, Roman, Romeo, Ronald, Roy, Royal, Royce, Ruben, Rudy, Russell

S: Salvador, Salvatore, Sam, Samuel, Santiago, Santos, Saul, Scott, Sebastian, Seth, Silas, Simon, Solomon, Spencer, Stanley, Stephen, Sterling, Steven

T: Taylor, Terry, Thaddeus, Theo, Theodore, Thomas, Timothy, Tomas, Tommy, Tony, Travis, Troy

V: Van, Vance, Vaughn, Victor, Vincent, Vincenzo*

W: Wade, Walker, Walter, Warren, Wayne, Wesley, Weston, Will, William, Willie, Wilson, Winston, Wyatt

Notes:

  • *Alec, Arturo, Caleb, Finley, Hayes, Hezekiah, Ignacio, Jordan, Nicolas, Oakley, Quincy, Reid, Ricardo, and Vincenzo were new and/or returning in 1917.  Frankie, Mike, and Randall returned to the top 1000 in 2017.
  • 379 (37.9%) of the 1000 most popular boys’ names in 2017 were also popular in 1917.
  • The initials with the greatest percentage of shared boys’ names between 1917 and 2017:
    1. O: 72.72%
    2. P: 70.59%
    3. W: 68.42%
    4. H: 65.38%
    5. E: 65.22%
  • And the initials with the smallest percentage of boys’ names shared between the 1917 and 2017 lists:
    1. U/X/Y/Z: 0%; no shared names between 1917 and 2017
    2. K: 6.94%
    3. B: 25%
    4. C: 26.92%
    5. D: 30.65%

Thoughts?  Are you surprised by any of these?  For me, it’s interesting to see how archaic many of these so-called modern baby names (especially the surnames) actually are.